- About the Institute
The Warsaw Ghetto. Pedestrians on Karmelicka street, visible buildings numbered 11-13. Photo by Heinrich Jöst
Heinrich Jöst was the owner of a hotel located in a German town. After the war broke out, he was drafted into the German army and was stationed around Warsaw. His 43rd birthday was on 19th September 1941. Making use of his free time, he went with his photo camera to the Warsaw Ghetto. He wanted to see why piles of corpses were removed from the “closed off area”, to which Poles and Germans, with the exception of special passes, it was prohibited to enter.
On the photos there are begging children in the ghetto, street handlers, Jews riding a rickshaw, a woman with a jug in her hand. You can see the tenement house on 25 Chłodna street, which still stands today, next to which was the gate to the ghetto, as well as, from January to August 1942, a footbridge that Jews used to cross over Chłodna street between the “small” and “large” ghetto. You can see an old Jewish man, who is taking his hat off in front of the German photographer – failure to do so would result in a beating, or even in being shot.
Heinrich Jöst survived the war. He didn’t say a word to anyone for decades about his collection of photos from the Warsaw Ghetto. He broke his silence in 1982 and showed the photos to the journalist Günther Schwarberg from “Stern” magazine. Part was published.
Relatively few photographs from the Warsaw Ghetto made it to be published. Some of the most valued are those captured by another German soldier, Joe J. Heydecker, photos preserved in the Ringelblum Archive, and the Heinrich Jöst collection.
Below we present selected photos by Heinrich Jöst. The entire collection of 80 photos from the collection of the Jewish Historical Institute can be viewed on the DELET website.
Photo captions written by Heinrich Jöst: